FOXBORO, Massachusetts — The Patriots aren't the only ones playing at home this weekend.
Sunday marks the kickoff of New England's 2018-19 postseason with an AFC Divisional Round matchup against Los Angeles. The Chargers started their playoff journey last weekend with a 23-17 victory in Baltimore.
Much of the Chargers' offensive success this season can be attributed to hot-handed 37-year-old QB Philip Rivers, phenom RB Melvin Gordon and two extremely talented wideouts: two-time Pro Bowler Keenan Allen, one of seven Chargers selected for this year's all-star event, and 2017 first-rounder Mike Williams, a Clemson standout and 2016 national champion.
Behind Allen, Williams and the rest of LA's wide receivers is a coach with New England and Maine roots. And the Patriots are familiar with him. He's a twice-previous AFC East foe, having coached in the Dolphins and Bills' organizations over the last six seasons, and a Massachusetts native.
Phil McGeoghan was born and raised in Agawam, Massachusetts, just south of Springfield, home of the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was an A-list athlete throughout high school before attending Boston University. But when the Terriers' football program was cut, he found Maine. And he thrived.
As a University of Maine Black Bear, McGeoghan excelled on the gridiron, track and classroom. He won numerous academic-related awards, and as a two-time All-American high jumper is the only Black Bear to ever clear 7 feet. Former track coach Jim Ballinger called him the "best pure athlete" the team ever had.
In 2018, McGeoghan was inducted into the UMaine Sports Hall of Fame.
"It was a really good experience, the best times of my life," McGeoghan said of his time at Maine. "The experiences were much different than at other schools."
After four injury-plagued NFL seasons with the Jets, Raiders, Broncos and Saints, McGeoghan's coaching career began at his alma mater as a wide receivers and tight ends assistant. From there he went on to Navy Prep, South Florida and then his first professional gig at Miami. He's now in Los Angeles with the Chargers, instructing one of the league's top receiving corps.
ESPN reports that McGeoghan uses a unique technique to help his players get separation from defensive backs: hand-to-hand combat, or MMA.
And it seems to have worked effectively.
In 2018, WR Mike Williams was tied for sixth amongst receivers league-wide with 10 touchdowns. WR Keenan Allen was 15th in receiving yards with 1,196.
This weekend, homefield advantage is all about perspective.
McGeoghan is home, too.
The winner of Sunday's game will travel to Kansas City next weekend to take on the No. 1 Chiefs in the AFC Championship.